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Tails from the Front Line

Official Blog of Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet

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Warrior Angels

Petco Foundation Invests in Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet’s PTSD Service Canine Program

Grant of $5,000 will extend efforts to help pets and people in our Military live their best lives

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© announced that it has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to support its Warriors’ Angels (WA) Program. WA was developed to support service members and veterans who have been medically diagnosed with “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) and official recommendation from their Primary Care Manager (PCM) to us has been received that an “Assistance Service Canine” (ACS) will help improve the service member/veteran’s quality of life.

The grant was made possible through the Petco Foundation’s annual Helping Heroes fundraising campaign, in partnership with Natural Balance Pet Foods. During the campaign each October, customers are invited to donate in Petco stores across the country to support service and therapy animals and organizations.

“We are thrilled that the Petco Foundation has invested in our Warriors Angels’ Program,” said Board President, Jessica Semon.  “Through their support, we are able to assist soldier’s medically diagnosed with PTSD and help make their lives a little easier with a Assistance Service Canine.”

The Petco Foundation investment will help to grow the Warriors Angels’ Program by supporting the  first Warriors Angel team and training facility in Central Texas. For more information on the Warrior Angels’ Program, please click here .

The Petco Foundation has served as a voice for companion animals across the country since 1999. Today, with more than 8,000 local animal welfare partners across the country, the Petco Foundation donates approximately $15 million a year to make a difference in the lives of millions of animals. The organization is funded through donations raised during fundraisers conducted in Petco’s more than 1,300 stores across the country, as well as from Petco associates, vendors and corporate contributions. Money raised helps fund animal welfare organizations, spay and neuter efforts, animal-assisted therapy programs and humane education. The majority of the funds raised remain in the communities where they were raised, as well as animal welfare efforts nationwide.

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© is a national all-volunteer 501(c)3 Military and Veteran Support Organization assisting active duty service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and their beloved companion animals or assistance service canines through various assistance programs.

For more information about Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet visit their website or follow them on LinkedIN, Facebook or Twitter.

For more information about the Petco Foundation, visit their website. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.

TX PETSMART Makes Donation to Warriors’ Angels Training Facility

February 16, 2015 – Gatesville, TX – PETSMART District Manager, Lance Runnels presents check of $2,000 to Cherie Boudreaux, Warriors’ Angels TX Coordination Liaison volunteer.  The donation is allocated toward the establishment of the Warriors’ Angels (WA) program’s Training Facility in Coryell County on the organization’s property on FM 1783 (approx. 14 miles west of Fort Hood).

“Thanks to PETSMART’s wonderful support in 2014 and 2015, we were able to implement the Warriors’ Angels program in San Antonio TX as of August 1, 2014 and our efforts to expand the program to Central TX including Fort Hood, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton, Temple, Waco, and Austin areas and the Warriors’ Angels Training Facility”, per Linda Spurlin-Dominik, WA Program Director.

Front Row Left to Right: Jim G and Sophie – WA Team in Training, PETSMART Store Manager, Cherie Boudreaux, WA TX Coordination Liaison, Kevin W and Chandler, WA Team in Training. Back Row: Lance Runnels, PETSMART District Manager.
Front Row (L to R): Jim G and Sophie – WA Team in Training, PETSMART Store Manager, Cherie Boudreaux, WA TX Coordination Liaison, Kevin W and Chandler, WA Team in Training.
Back Row: Lance Runnels, PETSMART District Manager.

Warriors’ Angels (WA) Program (TX-only) developed to support service members and veterans who have been medically diagnosed with “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) and official recommendation from their Primary Care Manager (PCM) to us has been received that an “Assistance Service Canine” (ACS) will help improve the service member/veteran’s quality of life. Future plans to expand program to other states such as CA, CO, TN, VA, and FL. To learn more and ways to become involved, visit http://guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/warriors-angels-program/waoverview/

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© is an ALL-volunteer 501(c)3 Military and Veteran Support Organization (MVSO) assisting active duty service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and their beloved companion animals or assistance service canines through various assistance programs.  These programs include: the Military and Veteran Pet (MVP)Foster Home programMilitary Pet Assistance (MPA) fund program, Warriors’ Angels (WA) program (TX only at this time), and MVP Sanctuary (MVPS) in TX. To learn more and ways to help and support the organization’s mission, visit www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org

The Bond between a Soldier and his Dog

My Labradoodle, Chandler, has been such a positive influence in my life. He has improved my way of living in so many ways. I will try to elaborate on a few. Just going through training Dec2014-5with Chandler gives us a bond like no other. I was in the United States Army/Infantry – August 1, 2012 we ran over a 300 pound or bigger IED in Afghanistan which killed three and left two of us severely wounded. That day changed my whole way of life. I’m always looking over my shoulder, whether I mean to or not. With Chandler now in my life I focus on him and don’t even think about what is possibly coming around the corner or through the door. If I do get into an uncomfortable situation Chandler will take his head and nudge my leg, look up at me and then sits and watches my back. This takes my own mind off of the situation. He’s given me a new sense of responsibility. The only thing that comes close to that bond I share with Chandler was the one I had with my squad when I was down range. It is two completely separate bonds, but the closest I felt to it since Mother’s Day 2012 when I left on my deployment. It is almost as if Chandler can read my thoughts. Due to the explosion I had an open compound Tib fib fracture. Since working with Chandler and the security he brings, I have been able to start walking without a cane. I take him for long walks longer and longer each time. Not only has he helped me overcome some of my mental obstacles, he is helping with my physical obstacles as well. Chandler is a gift straight from God. Chandler and I are just starting our journey together and our bond is already so strong. I am not good at writing or speaking, but everything I said come straight from the heart.

I would like to sincerely show my gratitude to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet and their Warriors’ Angels program for allowing me the chance to have a little of what I had before my injuries, my deployment, and my service.

Thank you Ms. Cherie and all those involved!

Kevin W

 

This article is the official interview with the 2nd Warriors’ Angels San Antonio Team known as the “Wear Team” (Kevin W & Chandler).

Subaru “Share the Loved”

Cleo Bay Subaru located in Killeen, TX held a four day special event between December 10 and 13, 2014 in support of Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet as their local chosen charity during the Subaru “Share the Love” campaign across the country.  Thanks to everyone at Cleo Bay Subaru efforts, $1,350 was raised during the  December four day special event.  The monies received is allocated to the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet “Warriors’ Angels” (WA) program toward the establishment of the program’s PTSD service dog teams’ training facility.

The WA Training Facility will be located at the organization’s property outside of Gatesville in Coryell County (approx 14 miles west of Fort Hood).  Per Linda Spurlin-Dominik, WA Program Director, “Thanks to Cleo Bay Subaru’s wonderful efforts brings us a littler closer to our goal toward purchasing the training facility building materials”.

The Warriors’ Angels program was implemented in San Antonio, TX on August 1, 2014 and we are now working to expand the program to Central TX for Fort Hood, Killeen, Temple, Belton, Waco, Austin, and other communities surrounding Fort Hood per Ms. Spurlin-Dominik.The Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© Warriors’ Angels (WA) program was developed to support service members and veterans who have been medically diagnosed with “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) and official recommendation from their Primary Care Manager (PCM) to us has been received that an “Assistance Service Canine” (ACS) will help improve the service member/veteran’s quality of life.  Full details about the program are available at: http://guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/warriors-angels-program/waoverview/

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© is a national ALL-volunteer 501(c)3 Military and Veteran Support Organization assisting active duty service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and their beloved companion animals or assistance service canines through various assistance programs.  These programs include: the Military and Veteran Pet Foster Home Program, Military Pet Assistance fund, and the Warriors’ Angels Program (TX only). Unless stated otherwise programs are available in all 50 states and all Branches of Service including National Guard and Reserves.  Learn more at www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org and at www.mvpsanctuary.org plus follow our story on our blog, https://tailsfromthefrontline.wordpress.com.  

Life with a Warriors’ Angels Service Dog… from a Soldier’s Perspective

Our life has always provided us with so many miracles. Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet and their Warriors’ Angels Program gave me a huge miracle. I’ve been waiting on a Service Dog for 6 years but my wife’s significant allergies have prevented any animals coming into the house. Cherie walked into our life with this adorable Goldendoodle puppy, Sophie. My wife is not allergic to her which is an amazing miracle in itself! I have fallen in love with this bundle of joy! Words alone cannot explain the changes wrought since she came into our lives.

Jim_Sophie_Nov2014-1I feel like a new parent talking about a new baby.   Sophie has the sweetest disposition I have ever seen in a dog.   She is friendly with a unique personality all her own. I rediscovered happiness in life spending time with her, playing “puppy” games and teaching her some basic tricks. Sophie is so smart and picks up on new situations with little or no prompting.

Sophie is so protective of both me and my wife, but she knows she is my dog and always keeps me as her primary focus.

Sophie wakes me up if I am having a nightmare. When I’m awake she stays very close to me and will lean up against me if I’m starting to escalate or lose control of my anger in order to soothe me. If her leaning isn’t enough, she will bark and demand to go outside, taking me on a walk until I calm down. It is incredible how she is able to sense my moods and emotions, defusing the anger until it is gone.

We have two feral cats, one several years old and another about 4-5 months old. Sophie has made them a part of her life. The older cat is stand-offish, but if we aren’t looking, she will play with Sophie. Road Rash (the kitten) & Kitty Girl (the oldest feral cat) play with Sophie when they are outside. Her other buddy is a dog named Tommy who lives behind us. They run back and forth along the fence playing. When we go outside and “visit” Sophie is friendly to everyone, including the mailman who likes her as well.

My wife has been there throughout my multiple deployments and has always been a blessing.  Sophie fills a need that another person cannot. We have bonded. Sophie never criticizes or scolds me. She is just there, understanding and caring. Sophie just wants attention from me. I know that I’m the only thing that matters to her. Sophie knows when to play and when to just sit near me. Her cold nose & unconditional love provides comfort on a level people cannot begin to understand.

Mere words cannot express my gratitude for the gift of Sophie. She has done so much to erase my depression, defuse my angry outbursts, and verbal assaults.   She is there when I lose my sense of direction or my frustration over things I cannot control.   And my wife is not allergic to her!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Jim G. US Army, Retired

So, how can you get involved with the Warriors’ Angels Program?  It’s easy!  You can donate (Sponsorships & Support Levels), Volunteer, Spread the Word or Host 3rd Party Fundraiser.

For more details and questions, please email waap@guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org.

Originally posted in our December 2014 newsletter.

Subaru’s “Share the Love” Hometown Charity in Killeen, TX

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is honored to be included as the local charity for the Cleo Bay Subaru’s Hometown Charity for the 2014 Subaru “Share the Love” event!

To date, Subaru of America has helped support nearly 300 animal shelters, grant more than 600 wishes, fund over one million meal deliveries to seniors, and support over 70 national parks through the “Share the Love” event. This year, Subaru of America is partnering with more than 600 local charities nationwide, helping even more of the causes they all care about.

If you purchase a Subaru from the Cleo Bay Subaru in Killeen, TX between now and January 2, 2015 and select Guardian Angels for Soldiers’ Pet as your charity, Subaru will then donate $250 to our organization!

Funds from Subaru “Share the Love” campaign will be allocated to Warriors’ Angels program to implement the program in Central Texas.

To learn more about the promotion from Cleo Bay Subaru, click here.

 

 

Help Us Raise the Roof

The building materials have been ordered for the Warriors’ Angels (WA) Training Facility at our property outside of Gatesville and we really need your help in raising the remaining $9,000 for the building materials by September 15, 2014.

We sincerely hope that no matter what state you reside in will consider helping us make this training facility a reality for our service members and veterans in Central Texas.

If you can help please visit the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet website and click on the second Donate button on left side of web page titled “DONATE NOW: WA – TX PROGRAM”.

If you do not wish to contribute on-line, please send check/money order (payable to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet with Memo Line: WA Training Facility) via US Mail to:

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet
ATTN: WA Training Facility
9725 FM 1783
Gatesville TX 76528-4739

Levels of Support Available

The purpose of the training facility is for training specific Teams (service member or veteran diagnosed with PTSD “Handler” and their assigned Assistance Service Canine (ASC) candidate). Overall anticipated costs for this effort estimated at $90,000 – $100,000 in order to be open for use before end of 2014.

SampleRenderingProposedWATrainingFacility

Any and all help so we can help our Central TX service members and veterans will be greatly appreciated not only by us but the Warriors’ Angels Teams going through this program.

If you are unable to contribute, please feel free to share this information with others who might be interested in helping or consider doing a 3rd party fundraiser.

Respectfully and Angel HUGS,

Linda Spurlin-Dominik
Warriors’ Angels Program Director

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet Launches Warriors’ Angels Program in Texas

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet Launches Warriors’ Angels Program in Texas

Program aims to assist Military Members and Veterans Diagnosed with PTSD through Assistance Service Canines

Gatesville, TX, August 7, 2014 – Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© announces the implementation of the Warriors’ Angels (WA) Program in the state of Texas initially in the San Antonio area with plans to expand the program to Central TX during 3rd and 4th Qtr. 2014, and Dallas/Fort Worth areas plus Fort Bliss/El Paso during1st and 2nd quarters 2015.

Warriors' Angels LogoThe purpose of the program is to support and help our military service members and veterans officially diagnosed with “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD). The program’s “support team” will be involved with identifying/evaluating potential Assistance Service Canines (ASCs), matching the ASC candidate with a specific applicant, overseeing the appropriate training and certification of these WA Teams, and providing on-going follow-up with each program certified teams following graduation until such time as the ASC is no longer able to perform the task they were trained for.

Warriors’ Angels in Texas is being implemented based on the premise that all parties involved (WA Coordination Liaison volunteer, the accepted applicant, and authorized “Training and the AKC Certified Testing” service providers) agree to coordinate, evaluate, train, certify, and follow-up with the certified WA Team according to the “Assistance Dogs International” (ADI) published minimum standards for assistance dogs.

Cherie Boudreaux of San Antonio, TX has been appointed as the interim WA Coordination Liaison volunteer overseeing the program in San Antonio. Ms. Boudreaux will be working with each Handler candidate and the chosen training/certifying service providers in San Antonio.   Besides, Ms. Boudreaux we welcome Beverly Benson (K9 BFF, Inc.), Kay Dyer, Robyn Slusky, and Carolyn Keiser (K9 Behavior) as the San Antonio Warriors’ Angels program trainers. Carolyn Keiser will also be providing Warriors’ Angels program testing for Warriors’ Angels certification for each Team that completes the training part of the program and passes the program’s certification exam. The WA certification exam covers 3 areas including at this time the ADA minimum 3 tasks mitigating the Handler’s disability, the AKC “Canine Good Citizenship” (CGC) test, and the ADI “Public Access Test” (PAT).

The Assistance Service Canine (ASC) aka PTSD service dogs qualified candidate may be the applicant’s companion animal or a shelter/rescue canine. Each qualified ASC candidate must possess a perspective nature, have a courteous, compliant temperament, an intuitive spirit in order to perform their duties independently when their Handler is facing a crisis, and show no signs of aggression toward those they may come in contact with.

Once an “ASC” candidate has been identified, the Handler and such candidate will go through a training program involving up to 150 hours training time between “face-to-face” (with assigned trainer) training sessions and the “In-Training” team working together on a daily basis in preparation for the Warriors’ Angels program Certification testing.

Though there is no actual program fee charged to the Handler, the handler will be responsible for such “canine related expenses” regarding proper animal care, keeping the pet current on all required vaccinations, necessary veterinarian care, maintaining local licenses and appropriate liability insurance. In addition they will need to have the energy and time to participate in the program and adhere to the ADI defined “Team Handler” standards.

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet established a Warriors’ Angels account to deposit donations that will help cover costs (estimated not to exceed $3,000 per WA “In Training” Team) related to up front veterinarian services, evaluation, training, the official Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet official service dog vest with a customized laminated Identification card, and other costs related to the program overall.

Program funding is being obtained through Direct Public Support donations received from individuals, businesses/corporations, and other organizations, earmarked as “WA”, which will be administered through the organization’s “Warriors’ Angels” (WA) fund account. To date donations in the amount of $23,000 including $17,500 from PetSmart allocated toward training/certifying 4 WA Teams and the WA Training Facility just southwest of Gatesville in Coryell County. Funding needed during the remainder of 2014 is $90,000 to begin training for an additional 5 WA Teams and build/implement the WA Training Facility.

According to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet National CEO and the interim WA Program Director, Linda Spurlin-Dominik, though the DOD and VA at this time have issued specific directives regarding PTSD service dogs (previously known as emotional support dogs), there is nothing preventing us from developing and implementing a program that will further help these warriors to assist with such areas as proper training and testing using the ADI published minimal standards for assistance dogs in regards to providing these assistance canines to our military service members and veterans who have officially been diagnosed with PTSD and per the appropriate Warrior Transition Unit/VA Primary Care Manager feels having a properly trained assistance canine will be a benefit to the service member/veteran especially in public venues.

Per Ms. Spurlin-Dominik based on various articles that have been published over the last couple of years the need has grown as shown in the March 2013 Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, INC newsletter (www.medicalservicedogs.com/category/newsletters/) where they define that “Over 2 million veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD where over 400,000 are currently in treatment and an additional 33% of our returning troops are expected to come home with it”.

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet will be applying for ADI accreditation during December 2015 time frame per Ms. Spurlin-Dominik once the organization has met the ADI’s accreditation criteria related to having a minimum 3 program certified Teams which have been active for 1 year.

In addition, plans and fundraising efforts are underway to build a Warriors’ Angels Training Facility on the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet property located southwest of Gatesville and approximately 14 miles west of Fort Hood. The training facility project is being handled by our affiliate MVP Sanctuary – TX and will be used for team training and holding public and military workshops about the program and PTSD. More details about the training facility is available at www.mvpsanctuary.org via the Project menu.

The organization would like to send a special “thank you” to Liz R. for designing the new Warriors’ Angels logo.

Additional Information:

Full details about the Warriors’ Angels program in Texas is available via the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet website.

About Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet©:

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© is a national ALL-volunteer 501(c)3 Military and Veteran Support Organization assisting active duty service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and their beloved companion animals or assistance service canines through various assistance programs. These programs include: the Military and Veteran Pet Foster Home Program, Military Pet Assistance fund, and the Warriors’ Angels Program (TX only). Unless stated otherwise programs are available in all 50 states and all Branches of Service including National Guard and Reserves. Learn more at www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org and follow our story on our blog, https://tailsfromthefrontline.wordpress.com. Also check out our affiliate organization, the MVP Sanctuary – Texas at www.mvpsanctuary.org.

Contacts:

Questions about the program or how to get involved in Texas may be directed to the Warriors’ Angels Program Director at waap@guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org.

Media inquiries may be directed to our Media Relations Coordinator at media@guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org.

1st Quarter 2014: Patriot Supporters

We wish to recognized and send our sincerest thanks and appreciation to the following donors who supported our efforts through monetary donations between $100 and $900.

  • VFW Ladies Auxiliary 4658 (NY)
  • Optical Solutions (KS)
  • Crazy Shelter Ladies (CT)
  • Military One Click
  • Great Dane Club Raritan Valley (NJ)
  • M. Karb (MA)
  • S. Hackett (CA)
  • J. Semon 3rd Party Fundraiser (MD)

Funds received from the donors above have been allocated between our “Military & Veteran Foster Home” (MVFH) program, the “Military Pet Assistance” (MPA) fund program, and the “Warriors’ Angels” (WA) program planed for implementation by end of 2nd Qtr. 2014 in the San Antonio TX area.

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